Entries tagged with “small business”.

Horse sculpture Seattle Seamless Moves

Year of the Horse

According to the cycle of the five elements in the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Wooden Horse, which is regarded as a year of quick victories, un-expected adventures and surprising romances.
Chinese people believe the horse is one of the most important creatures in the world for mankind to befriend.

It is believed that those who are born in the Year of the Horse usually have superior manners and pay more attention to their appearance in terms of style and accessories. They tend to be generous and like extravagance.

Generally, they are free-spirited, liberated and always on the move, yearning for the freedom to roam. Their attitude toward everything is positive and straightforward. As independent as the horse, they don’t like to be suppressed and they don’t easily accept help from others.

What does a “Horse Year” mean for businesses in Western Washington? The time for pondering and planning was 2013′s Snake year. Horse energy is free spirited, wild, willful and independent. 2014′s Horse year is time to act fast: buy that home, launch that business, travel the world, make a big purchase, get a promotion at work, have a breakthrough – take a leap and fly. If it’s right, then there’s nothing to think about; just follow your instincts. If you miss the mark, you’ll have all of Wood Sheep Year 2015 to get cozy and enjoy life’s comforts in all their artistic forms.


Sources: Ying Wen, Epoch Times; Susan Levitt, Western and Asian astrology
Photo Credit: Laurie Lamoureux (Bellevue, WA), taken at Wild Horse Hotel and Casino (c) 2013

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance
and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Washington coast to dig razor clams. There are only a few days each year that the non-Native American public is allowed to dig razors and only on certain beaches approved by the state’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Some of these towns have been hard-hit by the recession, the real estate and job market crashes and by various downturns in the fishing industry, so businesses in those areas generally gear up for those dates knowing that many tourists will be in town who will spend money in their hotels, restaurants, stores, etc.

As a small business owner myself, I projected that if I owned for instance, a restaurant, that is what I would do. I’d get the employees together and polish up that puppy until it gleamed in anticipation of the quite possibly hundreds of additional customers, order more supplies and gather everyone together to map out a game plan for handling the crowds we were anticipating. I may even add a couple of part-time, on-call employees to make sure everything went smoothly.  Here are some of the things I would NOT do:

1) The very last day of clam digging season began roughly an hour or two before low tide at 8:58 a.m. It takes most folks about an hour to dig their limits, so figuring they would be hungry for breakfast either before digging or after, I’d open fairly early. I would not watch a steady stream of people entering my restaurant at 10:15 a.m. and have the hostess tell them, “We don’t open until 11:00.” And then watch each and every one of them turn and leave.

2) I would not have a breakfast counter with four empty stools and tell a group of four customers that only three people could sit there because the counter in front of the fourth stool was reserved for a glass cake plate displaying muffins for sale.

3) I would not have only two very harried and cranky waitstaff (and no hostess) working a 16-20 table restaurant, one of whom had to repeatedly push through the long line of waiting customers with plates of food for one side of the very dark and scarily dismal-looking restaurant.

Granted, I have never tried to run a restaurant. I’m sure there are challenges I cannot even comprehend that differ from my business. However, there are ways in which all businesses are similar. Primary among them are customer service, finding and keeping good employees and making a profit. Last year, I ate breakfast at a diner in Anchorage that provides free coffee and newspapers for waiting customers. Their restaurant is nearly always full and their waitstaff is cheerful and service-oriented.

As for our party of four: after leaving the above three restaurants hungry, we went to the grocery store for eggs and bacon, returned to our friends’ home and made our own breakfast. It was delicious.